Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Miscellany :: Tomato Jam

This Tomato Jam rocks our world and our potatoes and our grilled cheeses and our burgers and so much more!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Miscellany :: Paper Flowers

For Jamie's birthday we went to a crafty evening at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. They had a hands-on station for making paper flowers. The petals were all punched out of assorted papers, some of which were vintage storybooks, and layered on pipe cleaners. Jamie and I could barely tear ourselves away. We have both been amassing paper and punches and plans for more flowers. We must do this again soon.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Miscellany :: Cultured Curried Carrots

Kim's cultured curried carrot stick recipe is so delicious that I wanted to share the goodness. I made some jars for Christmas gifts and, of course, a few more jars for our house. We like having these on hand. In fact, we like them so much that we get sad when we realize we are out and there isn't a new jar started yet. Snappy, salty, savory and a wee bit spicy. Yum.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Miscellany :: Darn Knit Anyway

Once upon a time, Jill and I took a day trip to Stillwater, Minnesota. We visited Darn Knit Anyway while we were there. I recommend the store if you are in the area. I also recommend taking day trips. They are good for the soul and not too hard on the pocketbook. Unless, of course, you have a lack of self-control around yarn. Then it might not be so affordable.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Miscellany :: Granola

Homemade granola is a staple at our house now. It is easy to make and there are endless combinations to try. I like to use this recipe as my base for proportions. I futz with the ingredients every time. I have switched out the spices or the oils. I generally sub in some buckwheat groats for some of the oats. I use mixtures of seeds and nuts. I stir in different combos of dried fruits or sometimes none at all if I want to eat it with preserves. Go! Go make a batch!

Here are the ingredients I generally have on hand to mix and match:

Oats (rolled, thick or regular, not quick)

Buckwheat groats

Chia Seeds

Flax Seeds

Sesame Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds/Pepitas

Almond slices



Hazelnuts, if I am feeling rich and fancy

Shredded coconut

Dried Cherries

Dried Apple


Golden Raisins


Dried Cranberries

Chopped apricots


Friday, February 24, 2012

Miscellany :: Picnic at the Park

Last summer, I spent the afternoon playing and picnicking at a park with Jamie, Sylvia and Violet. The splashes and squeals from kids on the distant beach mixed with the crunch of the sand underfoot and the creak of the swings brought me back to my own summer days at the park. Ah, childhood. Such a glorious thing.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Miscellany :: The Rest of the Yarn

One time I knit a shawl that needed to be cast off along the long edge and this was the entirety of the yarn that remained. The knitting gods were looking down on me on that one!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Miscellany :: Jam

There was a time last summer that I was so feverishly preserving things that not all of them made it on the blog. I think this might have been a batch of Raspberry Rosewater Jam next to a batch of Blueberry Rhubarb Maple Jam. Maybe.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Miscellany :: Front Porch Pets

There is a window of time on either side of summer when our front porch is the favorite place to be. And, wherever we go, they go.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Miscellany :: Tea Tasting

One time, Kim and I went to a tea tasting at Mrs. Kelly's Tea. They opened up their warehouse and their full tea line and we got to taste and taste and taste. B.T. McElrath was also there giving out samples of their dark chocolate (buttered toast flavor, yum!). We left with a big, big buzz, a few big bags of tea leaves and a stronger sense of the teas we do and do not like.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Miscellany :: The Volunteer

This squash was a volunteer in our garden last year. If you aren't familiar with the term, a volunteer is a plant you did not plant. This plant got its beginnings from a rotten buttercup squash we had thrown into the compost. When this guy came up, we just left it. It grew all the way around the perimeter fence of the compost pile and produced one, healthy, edible squash. Thanks, Volunteer!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Miscellany :: Buttons

Many months ago, I was pulling the button tin off of the shelf to rummage through it. It somehow went flying out of my hands and crashed to the floor. The buttons EXPLODED all over the room. It is now at least 6 months later and I am still finding buttons in random places in the room. After it happened, I had to go get the camera and take a picture before I could face the cleanup. It was one of those moments where you have a choice: you can laugh or you can cry. Luckily, my instinct was to laugh.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Miscellany :: Almond Milk

You know what is super easy peasy? Making your own almond milk. Here is how I do it:

Soak 1 cup of almonds overnight. Pop them out of their husks. Blend them with 3-6 cups of water (the vitamix is awesome at this). Strain it through a nut milk bag if you want to, or don't.

I have started to make this for use in smoothies. It goes really well with pumpkin/squash smoothies, like in this recipe. It is good and good for you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Miscellany :: Chicken Coop Tour

Last September Paul and I paid a visit to a neighbor who was taking part in the Chicken Coop Tours event. The Chicken Coop Tours are like a Parade of Homes backyard chicken style. It was awesome. I have been enamored with the idea of backyard chickens for a while, but am letting the idea steep for a while before taking action.

I once read an article in which a fellow Twin Citian recounted her tale of keeping her chickens safe from frostbite. It involved cornering her chickens on a cold, cold day so she could rub vaseline on their tender parts to protect them. Hmmm. That doesn't sound so fun. So, for the time being, I am absorbing chicken knowledge from here and there and trying to gauge how committed I am: vaseline-on-a-cold-night committed or fresh-eggs-on-a-sunny-day committed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Time Away

This guy and I are about to embark upon a wonderful vacation together. We are going to New Zealand! The last time we traveled internationally was right before this blog started, which would have been just about 5 years ago. We make for good traveling partners, so it is about darn time we do it again! We have grand plans for penguin viewing, kayaking, hiking, wine and beer drinking, thermal bath taking, caving and so much more!

This blog has been pretty silent lately as I have been focusing on getting some projects done around the house (the bedroom finally got painted and put together!), getting things in order to hand off to Meg and Cyrus (our fabulous friends/petsitters/plantsitters/housesitters) and getting ourselves ready for this trip (to-do lists out the wazoo!). We are nearly ready to go and are so, so, so excited.

I didn't want to leave the blog silent for any longer, so I have emptied out the camera memory card and have prepared a bunch of posts each based on a photo pulled from the last year of miscellaneous pictures. Some of them will be random memories, some will be food, some will be cautionary tales and some will have tails.

I hope you have a wonderful few weeks and I will see you when I return. I am sure I will have a lot to share with you when I get back!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Strong, Sexy & Stylish

Hello! I would like to introduce you to a few people. These lovely ladies are, from left to right, Karen, Laura and Sally. Sally is a friend of mine, which is how I came to meet Karen and Laura last week.

For a little while now, this trio has been in cahoots under the name Strong, Sexy & Stylish. Their goal is simply stated yet quite complex: teach women to love themselves. Their approach is threefold: write a blog, host a podcast and get out there and talk to/with people.

Last week, they hosted an event titled 9 Steps to a Happier You. Now, I am not normally one for the self-helpy stuff, but these ladies do it well and sucked me in with their humor and enthusiasm. Their steps/suggestions were logical, doable and all based on solid knowledge about fitness, sexual health and the intersection of body image and style. For me, their approach sends 2 consistent messages: 1. You are wonderful as you are. 2. You should take care of yourself in a way that honors that notion. It is important, worth the effort and likely to cause a domino effect of awesomeness for you.

Karen, Laura and Sally really care about their mission. This collaboration builds off of what each of these women do. They each have their area of expertise. Karen represents the strong, Laura the sexy and Sally the stylish. It also helps that they are funny and obviously have fun doing this together!

You can learn more about their backgrounds on their site.

In addition to being strong, sexy and stylish, these women are smart! I look forward to watching their movement of self-love grow. When they take over the world, I will be able to say I was on board from the start. If you want to check them out, they make it easy for you with a podcast, a blog, a facebook page, and more events to come. Linky link for you here.

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